Confessions of a Beachcomber

Planted in the crag, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Planted in the crag, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

So, why do I show you a photo of a mountain if I’m talking about beaches? I have always considered myself a Mountain person. Just as there is a difference between Cat people and Dog people, there are differences between Beach people and Mountain people.

I always love to get up high where I can see. A few years back, I trained for several weeks so I could hike 2,000 feet up a mountain in Yellowstone Park in two miles, just to see a spectacular view of most of the park and even the Grand Tetons 75 miles away! It was worth it!

Interestingly, I live less than five miles from several public beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, and that has been the case for the last 20 years! My mom lives right on a beach half the year, and I visit her there at least three times a year. When I was in Africa, nearly half of my 13 years on the continent, I lived in coastal cities. I have visited beaches much of my life.

So, as much as I love the mountaintops, the views and the “high’s,” in reality, I live at sea level. I have learned to look for treasures and to appreciate what is around me.

A Hermit Crab on Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA by Karen Zanellis

A Hermit Crab on Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA by Karen Zanellis

I often go to a mountain or a beach to get away from the static of life so I can hear God more clearly. Life can be so imposing at times. I need to find space. Mountains and oceans both offer open space. Whether planted in a crag on a mountaintop or relating to a hermit crab at sea level I find wonder and majesty in God’s creations.

By being in God’s creation I can also come to grips with what needs to change in my life.

An orange comb in the white sand. Crane Beach.

An orange comb in the white sand. Crane Beach.

In this late season of lent, that leads us into the intensity of Holy week, from Palm Sunday to Easter, my short comings, sins and imperfections can stick out like this bright orange comb on the beach, that I honestly did NOT plant there. I Promise!

As I walk toward resurrection Sunday, I first go through the celebration Hosannas of Palm Sunday when Jesus enters Jerusalem triumphantly, to the Last Supper and the Crucifixion of Good Friday.  It was an emotional roller coaster of a week when Jesus first walked it. By entering into these days of remembrance, I am reminded of the price God paid to bring me into right relationship with Him….

I am grateful beyond description and I am motivated to honor God as best I can by choosing to give Him the “orange combs” in my life.

I choose to walk this coming week to the Easter mountaintop, through the lowlands at sea level. I do not come with shame, but rather with a recognition and gratitude that I need both Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday be the woman God created me to be.

Will you join me in a sober, yet hopeful self-examination this week? Don’t hold on to what you find, but leave it all, forever, at the foot of the cross on Good Friday!

Andrea (Madden) Van Boven : I like to think I am a radical lover of Jesus, but I live in a house and pay bills and look like I fit in with respectable society, like most people. What goes on in my head and heart are hopefully the things that betray the look of "normal" that comes at first glance. I hope those things inside of me seep out to actions as well as words of hope and encouragement. I pray that these in turn will lead others to know the loving creator who knows us so intimately that he has a number for every hair on every head.

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